Peter Nakamura
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Peter Nakamura

How I Unpacked What I Really Wanted to Do With My Career

Photo by Robert Stokoe from Pexels

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favourable.


Reflection #1: What do you do for fun?

What feels fun, creative and innovative for you?

One of the first few questions Andrea Fruhling, my career coach, asked me

  • I like variety in challenges and learning something new in the process. (If someone paid me to be a student for life, I’d take that offer in a heartbeat);
  • I enjoy collaborating with other people to identify the root cause of a problem and developing potential solutions;
  • I love the early stages of strategy development — brainstorming, discussing and planning;
  • I enjoy working in small teams that have a high level of trust and collaboration;
  • I love learning and using my discipline (probably my greatest strength) to diligently work towards acquiring a new skill;
  • I enjoy work that’s more “project based” as I get to start fresh with a new challenge I can tangle with.

Reflection #2 — Prioritize what matters to you

  1. Innovation (doing something new)
  2. Work Fit (finding work that fits my interest, values, etc.)
  3. Relationships (working in a group, interpersonal connections)
  4. Learning (opportunities for growth, professional development, new challenges)
  5. Contribution (sense of purpose and meaning and doing work that has meaning)
  6. Security (financial, having benefits, position security)
  7. Flexibility (time off for other needs and work/life balance)
  8. Recognition (being appreciated for what you’re doing)
  9. Responsibility (being trusted to take on responsibility)
  10. Location (physical space, healthy workspace)

Reflection #3 — Connect emotionally with your path

This is the real secret to life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.

Alan Watts

Three Key (+ One Bonus) Lessons

  1. Discover what your “North Star” is and remind yourself throughout the process. For me, it was about pursuing work that feels fun, creative and innovative. If you put aside making money, what might fun look like to you? If you could design your own role from scratch, what would you do?
  2. Do the Workplace Attractors exercise and stay true to the workplace attractors that are important to you right now. Be mindful of the “career story” that you’re telling yourself. E.g. I studied “x” so I have to be “x”. Many of the most successful people in the world started in a field that had no direct relation to the work they do today.
  3. Invest in a career coach. A good coach will be there to provide a framework, question unhelpful stories about yourself and hold you accountable to taking action. If Michael Jordan had a coach throughout his career, I’m pretty sure we should all have one too.
  4. Finally, be patient with yourself. Arriving at a decision to pivot took me time. Do the exercises, research your options and let your subconscious mind do work in the background. Build the courage to take that first step.



Our lives are changing faster than ever. And we need the tools to keep up with the speed and complexity. This blog will explore concepts from design thinking and design sprints to help organizations solve problems with innovation, creativity and fun.

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Peter Nakamura

Peter helps organizations bring their ideas to market using Design Sprint process developed by Google. He primarily works with EdTech and L&D organizations.